New garden villages could create 1m new homes

The creation of new garden villages could create one million new homes, Lord Matthew Taylor has told a conference on ‘building sustainable communities’.

Speaking at the event organised by East Midlands-based Larkfleet Group, Lord Taylor, who is Chair of the National Housing Federation (NHF) board said that if each of England’s rural local authorities built one new 5,000-home garden village during the next decade it would deliver a million extra desperately needed new homes.

He proposed giving local authorities powers under the New Towns Act to create new garden villages of between 1,500 homes (a small village sizable enough for a new primary school, pub and a village food store) to 5,000 homes (a large village/small market town supporting a secondary school and a high street).

“Localising the New Towns Act could revolutionise planning and housing delivery,” said Lord Taylor. “It answers the concerns of most residents – no more development forced into their back yards. It answers the concerns of taxpayers – by capturing land value uplift development pays for services and great design a new community needs to thrive. By making land readily available for new homes, SME builders, housing associations and new entrants can step up delivery in a way the large house-builder model doesn’t allow (as they rely on paying back high land values by selling homes slowly to maintain values).”

Lord Taylor was the keynote speaker at the Building Sustainable Communities event in Peterborough. Other speakers included: Neil Darwin, chief executive of the Greater Cambridgeshire - Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership; Mark Woods, executive principal of Cambridgeshire Meridian Academies Trust, which includes Nene Park Academy and Kirsten Bennett, chief executive of Cambridgeshire ACRE.

Karl Hick, CEO of Larkfleet Group, introduced the event saying: “Larkfleet Group is a major house builder across the region and has recently expanded its operations into Norfolk and Suffolk and the south-west of England. Wherever we are building, we are determined to build communities, not just houses. That’s why we are hosting this workshop and exploring the roles of various organisations in creating communities.”

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